Your Woods Could Be Too Long | Swing Surgeon - Don Trahan Peak Performance Golf Swing

Your Woods Could Be Too Long

Sat, 09/13/2014 - 09:00 -- Don Trahan

If you've never been custom fit for clubs by a PPGS Certified Fitter, I'd be willing to bet that your driver and 3 wood are probably way too long. I can't tell you how many times I've had students tell me that they can hit all their irons great, but as soon as they try to hit a driver, the ball goes crooked. 

Club manufacturers have been making drivers longer and longer for years, providing evidence that the ball goes farther with a longer shaft. That's true, but the ball will only go farther if you can swing with enough speed. That's easy for touring pros, but not necessarily for amateurs. 

I'll talk about the length of driver I use, as well as the type of driver head. Remember, big heads and long shafts can spell disaster off the tee if you can't maintain enough speed through the ball. Check out the video and you'll see what I mean.

Keep it vertical!

The Surge

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Comments's picture

Submitted by on

Surge, can you simply choke up on the club if your driver is too long to improve your contact with the sweet spot?

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

The short answer to just choking down is yes that would be permissible and just a matter of personal preference. Former top pro Anthony Kim and Sergio Garcia both often choke down and have done quite well. Looking below at Ron's answer may be a clue that actually cutting the length off (in his case 2 inches did the trick) may be a better way. The grip is designed to be held with just maybe 1/4-1/2 inches showing. In other words the handle/grip is designed to be held where it should (normally) be held. Make sense? Some golfers might be perfectly comfortable choking down in fact some have played with clubs that were (are) too long for years and always choke down. I prefer to not have to compensate and remember where to place my hands. I want and do have all my clubs the right length for me. That way unless I am attempting an unusual shot I can just grab the club, set up and focus on the target.

Here's Surge's thoughts on cut it or choke up?'s picture

Submitted by rondiane@mindsp... on

Surg, your are RIGHT!! I have spent many dollars on drivers.Two weeks ago I cut 2 inches from the grip area of an old driver. And now I'm hitting, long and straight. with this 5 year old senior shaft driver. Played yesterday and only missed two fairways and was 16 yards longer than my T/M rocketball stage 2....I'm 77 years young and play 2-3 times a week. average 210-216 Yds. drives. Enjoy your program Ron H

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on

I have 3 drivers that I've had shortened to 44 inches over the last few years. Two of them had a regular shaft and the latest a senior shaft. The shortened senior shafted club worked much better for me. The shortened regular shafts felt to stiff. Even with a 44 inch shaft I still tend to choke up an inch to an inch and a half when finding the fairway is crucial and don't seem to give up any significant distance.

NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

I have three drivers, two have been made to measure, one from Doc, another froma fitter in the US, the third is a Callaway off the shelf. I have compared the three of these many times during practise rounds where I hit two balls and look at the stats at the end, all much the same but not as consistent as
my 3W.

If I'm playing in an ambrose event, then the Callaway is my preferred choice as I like the feel and sound it gives and occassionally I can hit a very goodie,
but would never take it to a comp, the 3W is the Tee Wood, it also gives me
an extra option in my bag.'s picture

Submitted by on

I have a Razor X Black that always seems to want to go the right. I choked up to 44 1/2 inchs but I could see that I was hitting forward of the sweet spot. Moving in or moving out from the ball didn't seem to help.

I took it to a local fitter, since we have no PPGS fitter near us in Kansas City. His high speed camera showed that I wasn't turning and then lifting. I was kinda cutting the corner so the club face was at about a 45 degree angle at the top BUS. He thought I was not giving the face time to snap shut at impact so off to the right it would go. He said he thought I should actually not choke up and move back a bit to give my hip room to turn.

It did seem to help because now I'm hitting consistently on sweet spot and I've hit a straight 328 yard drive recently with the PPGS. The guys I was with were stunned. I don't know why going longer helped. Would this be because of the head design?

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Awesome drive. I think it can all matter when it comes to length, shaft choice and head design. Personally I have found that the shaft matters more than often given credit. Though my swing speed with the driver is about 98mph when tested, I get my best results with my Adila DVS Extra Stiff. On the surface it would seem that XS would be too stiff for a sub 100 mph swing speed. However I have now put that shaft on several drivers now and each goes in and out of "active duty" but I like each with one exception, the Adams Super S purchased and I re-shafted about 4 months ago. It is just too lite weight. My point is with several different heads it was the shaft (in my experience, aside from combined with Adams) that was the difference for me. I have some 12 different shafts that I have interchanged with various driver heads while experimenting over the past 5 years. They range from senior through XS, and all have varying dynamics. One of the key aspects of my Aldila DVS XS is the lower than most torque. The lower torque just works out better for me on most swings off the tee.
Keep in mind, as Doc Griffin and other fitters such as Tom Wishon will tell us, what is labeled on the shaft, ie., regular, stiff, senior or what ever doesn't always mean much. As there is no regulating from company to company as too what defines the dynamics of the shaft. This is why it is great to get the opportunity to demo lots of different shafts when getting fit. Most of the time, the average buyer is 'head' focused when trying out clubs on their own at a big store like Golf Galaxy or Golf Smith. While getting fit by a certified club fitter is ideal, if one wants to go it on their own at a store, another approach is to grab lots of drivers but DO NOT check the shaft to see if it's regular, senior, stiff or extra stiff but rather just hit balls and resist looking at the given specs. Only go by whether you hit it well or not period. After multiple testing and selecting the winner THEN look at the specs. This way we choose by what works not what we predetermine might be best.
Building my own clubs now for several years does allow me to try out lots of shafts and heads. Fun it is.

michaelm's picture

Submitted by michaelm on

Congratulations on your 328 yd drive. The likely reason for the long drive was the 25 mph tailwind & hitting the cart path a couple of times!'s picture

Submitted by on

Please be an adult and keep your insults to yourself.

KenD's picture

Submitted by KenD on

I am a big guy, about 6 ft 1 inches. But I Have a big chest and short arms. My son is 2 inches shorter than me but his arms are 2 inches longer than mine. The bottom line I think the peak swing still creates width with the left arm despite the limited turn. But since my arms are short, if I limit my turn like surge suggests, my left arm does not get far enough back and I cannot swing down correctly to the impact position, and thus I generally pull the ball or hit a weak slice. Do you think the peak swing is good for someone with a stocky build and short arms? Maybe shorter clubs are the answer.
Thanks. Ken from Chicago